This column is authored by Catherine Hoddar, co-author of “Law Office on a Laptop: How to Set Up Your Own Successful Mobile Law Practice.”
Being your own boss has its perks! It is wonderful to call all the shots. The downside, however, is that there may be no one to listen to you, share ideas, or commiserate with you when business gets tough. Although it is rewarding to startup your own venture, it can get lonely.
Here are 6 ideas to get you connected with others to share your highs and lows and learn valuable tips for your business:
Attend Networking Events and Workshops
There are many business to business networks or Chamber of Commerce organizations that organize networking events. Try a few and see which ones you enjoy and try to meet other professionals. They may have sound business advice and can refer clients to you once they know about you.
Connect with a Mentor
If you don’t have mentor, find one! Checking in with an experienced business owner is a great way to keep your progress in check and to bounce ideas off him or her. It is helpful to get advice from someone who has been in your shoes. Generally, entrepreneurs are happy to help others in the business. You just have to ask.
Tap into Social Media
Find other entrepreneurs who are in your field. They do not necessarily have to a business enterprise near you. You can see their personality and knowledge by what they post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Connect with a few and tap into their knowledge and experiences. Because they aren’t local, they may be more forthcoming with advice if they do not view you as direct competition.
Create Your Own Support Group
Put together your own group of business owners, attorneys or accountants to advise you and help you grow business. They don’t necessarily have to be in the same industry as you. Share your successes and challenges with each other and together workshop solutions. You will be able to learn more about their businesses as well to help promote each other.
Call Someone for a Cup of Coffee
Get out of your office and meet someone for coffee, breakfast or lunch. You will enjoy the company and network at the same time. Search for professionals in your area that you might learn something from such as marketing, social media, or technology. They will probably share some free advice to help you in your business.
Phone a Friend
Some days are just tough. You may be frustrated when dealing with a client who will never be satisfied, or wondering why you are working so hard but feel you have little to show for it. Reach out to family and friends for encouragement. Talking to people outside the of your business can give you good perspective that one bad day is just one bad day and things will get better. They may also be able to identify something you had not considered or solve a problem.
Being an entrepreneur doesn’t have to be a solo journey. Surround yourself with good connections to help build and grow your business.